10 Ways to Enhance Your Student’s Study Space

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Setting up the right study environment for your child can go a long way to help with focus and productivity when it comes to homework. Check out the following ideas to find a few that just might work for your student.
 

Go Comfy:

Some students do well sitting at a desk, while others don’t. After seven and a half hours of sitting at school, the traditional desk may not be the best option. If you’re continually reminding your child to sit still, try a different approach. A number of students work well standing up, completing homework on the kitchen counter. Others like the living room couch with the help of a lap desk. Don’t fight their natural inclinations to get comfy.
 

Think Big:

orderly-deskMost kids like working at a desk, but do best when they have ample space to spread out their materials. The dining room table is a good option. If you’re looking to invest in a new space, consider an L-shaped desk. It allows the student to have a set place for her laptop and a separate place for writing.
 

Swap Out the Chair:

ball-chairDifferent types of chairs work in different situations. Consider a cozy beanbag chair for reading, which helps kids to feel snug and relaxed. Some children do especially well when sitting on a ball chair. It allows them to gently bounce as they work. This minimal movement increases alertness by engaging core muscles.
 

Keep the Computer in a Public Place:

These days, many assignments are online, which isn’t always helpful for students with or without attention difficulties. If you find that your child’s screen is suddenly minimized each time you walk by, that’s a sign she’s doing something other than homework. When this is a chronic problem, be sure to limit computer access to a well-traveled area of your home, not you child’s bedroom.
 

Ask Probing Questions: 

At the end of the day, a parent may not know best. Encourage your child to try different homework locations, and then ask probing questions such as, “How focused did you feel in the ____?” or “Did you feel like you got a lot done when you were studying in the ___?” Help him to find at least two possible places that feel productive. It’s important to have multiple places to study, not just one. Moving locations from day to day increases the sense of novelty, which can improve focus.
 

Have a Timer Nearby:

Timers are excellent tools for students who feel that they just can’t muster the energy to get started. Enter the Tolerable 10. By setting the timer for only 10 minutes and sitting down and getting to work for this short amount of time, these students often realize that the task isn’t so overwhelming after all. They find that once they start, they can keep on going. I like the Time Timer (www.timetimer.com).
 

Hang the Homework Caddy:

homework-caddyIf you have a wall near the study area, try the Homework Caddy to get organized. It’s a creative hanging folder system to organize schoolwork, books, and homework supplies. I love it because it not only eliminates clutter, but it also helps kids and parents keep track of long-term assignments (check out the large monthly calendar).
 

Set up a Launching Pad:

Another organizational tool is the launching pad. It’s a contained space for everything related to school that needs to get out the door each morning. In essence, it launches the child into the day, equipped with all the right essentials – backpack, lunch box, library books, etc. A launching pad can be a box, large basket, dishpan, or any container big enough to house your child’s school items. Put it in a well-traveled area, preferably near the door your child enters and exits from each school day.
 

Archive Colorfully:

pendaflex-hanging-folderHaving a place to archive old papers is also a good idea. Some kids are packrats and some are purgers when it comes to their schoolwork. They don’t know what to keep and what to toss. A good rule of thumb is that old tests and quizzes should always be kept. Most everything else can be tossed. Those important papers can be filed once a month into a Pendaflex hanging file folder. Label each tab with the subject name and in no time, your child will have a colorful archiving system set up to keep all of those important papers organized.
 

Leave the House:

And finally, you may find that there are too many distractions in the home for your child to focus for an extended period of time. When this is the case, consider an outside location one or two days a week. This could be a public library or an after-school homework club. Furthermore, the hum of a busy place, such as Starbucks, is actually helpful to some students. Try a few places to see what works for your child.

In the end, allow your student to become part of the process of determining a place and set up that works best for him or her. Having buy-in is key. Students that feel as if they’re part of the process are far more willing to go along with it.

If we can help your child set up an awesome study space and study more effectively, drop me a line at [email protected].

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